Applying for jobs can be tough. In some industries, the competition is fierce and lots of people will be applying for the same jobs that you are. This means that there could be several hundred applications for any one position.

Imagine what it’s like to have to read through all the applications for a job, and then make decisions based on what you have read? I don’t even want to imagine that.

But there’s one thing that I think must annoy recruiters more than anything else. Do you know what I think that might be?

A generic application letter and CV that has obviously been used to apply for a lot of different jobs.

What are some of the signs of a ‘generic’ application? The two most obvious ones are:

The application letter doesn’t refer to the particular job being applied for. It uses a lot of generalised statements and is focussed mainly on the applicant.
The CV has not been customised to fit the job that is being applied for.
Sometimes people who are applying for jobs simply don’t know any better. They haven’t learnt the basics about Job Search Strategy and don’t really know how to market themselves effectively.

Sometimes people can feel a desperate need to find a job quickly, so they fire off lots of applications without giving much thought to what they need to do to stand out.

And sometimes, it’s just a whole lot easier to do things quickly, rather than giving much thought to what they are doing.

If you have been guilty of any of these, here’s what is probably one of the most important pieces of advice I give to clients when I am coaching them in job search skills:

When you apply for jobs,

you must customise your CV and cover letter

to fit each position you are applying for.

I advise my clients to create a Master CV for themselves, which is a comprehensive record of all their information and a thorough list of their skills described in a way that is easy to cut and paste into a customised CV. When they are applying for jobs, the process starts with a careful and thorough reading of the job description. A well-written job advertisement will include the following:

  • A brief summary of the organisation
  • A detailed description of the particular duties that will need to be done
  • A list of the key skills required to do the job
  • Some kind of person specification that describes what an employer is looking for

The next step is to create a cover letter and CV that is customised wherever it can be, to fit the requirements of the job being applied for. Sounds simple? Not always. People often don’t present themselves as well as they should. E.g. Their list of skills lets them down. (see Is Your List of Skills Really That Important in Your CV?)

Janet Tuck

Janet Tuck

Career Management Specialist

M: +64 21 526 387

Do you need improve your CV and Job Search Strategy?


Give me a call and book in for a coaching session NOW


Janet – 021 526 387


Watch out for the next in this CV series: The One Thing I Will Almost Never Do For A Client.

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